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In Memoriam 2015

January 1: Donna Douglas: Played daughter Elly May Clampett in The Beverly Hillbillies. (Age 82). 1: Mario Cuomo: Governor of New York (1983 to 1994) (Age 82). 2: James Cecil Dickens: Known as Little Jimmy Dickens, best known for his song May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up ...

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The disappearance of misc.activism.progressive and the emergence of Thought Crime Radio

Almost four years ago, the articles in the USENET newsgroup misc.activism.progressive ground to a halt, and moderator Rich Winkel has all but disappeared from the USENET, whom I learn resided in Harrisburg (up until 2010, at least), a half hour or so drive from his ...

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Sounding off on the end of CanCon and the CRTC

I guess with the recent decision to axe all cancon requirements for daytime programming in Canada, the CRTC is crawling toward its own irrelevance. Let's not be naive, Canadian culture is that much more weakened without the protection it partially enjoyed from American influence. With ...

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Eldred, Saskatchewan on the map … barely

Eldred, Saskatchewan on the map ... barely

I've written about obscure Saskatchewan communities before. Here is another community far to the north of Unity. My ancestors from France settled here. Many of my ancestors were pioneers that broke new farming ground nearest to a community called Eldred, Saskatchewan. Eldred was about 10 km ...

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Zero

Once upon a time, around the year 525 during the reign of Pope John I, a monk named Dionysius invented the idea of Anno Domini by producing a calendar which marked the time since the birth of Christ. The numbering of the years was adopted ...

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Fortune Cookies for Human Rights

Fortune Cookies for Human Rights

You know, I was minding my own business in this classy Chinese restaurant, engorging myself on their copious buffet, had my fill, and was handed the bill with an accompanying fortune cookie. This fortune cookie (the one to the left) really existed, and I never saw ...

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Getting f(x) notation to work in Maple

Getting f(x) notation to work in Maple

Maple is a robust math environment which can graph, solve equations, and solve for the unknown with the aid of its computer algebra solver (CAS), which is capable of computing exact roots of cubic functions, for example. I wanted to demonstrate for myself that Maple could ...

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Kudos to the 1050 CHUM Memorial Blog

Kudos to the 1050 CHUM Memorial Blog

Recently, I've been hit (my website that is) by someone possibly checking his plethora of links from his/her website, and when I back-traced it, I find this cool blog which acts as a convincing historical shrine to the late great 1050 CHUM Radio in Toronto. ...

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The Obfuscation of Electronics: The Behringer Xenyx 502

The Obfuscation of Electronics: The Behringer Xenyx 502

This is more like a meta-review. I have gone to Canada Computes where nearly the entire Behringer line is sold, and was impressed by the specs. But does it do what I want, the way I want it? I face a number of obstacles, being a ...

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OOC Recipients 011: Sigers and Chanteuses

Loreena McKennitt

Loreena McKennitt

In the early 1980s, Manitoba-born Loreena McKennitt was busking in Toronto in order to finance her first album, Elemental. It led to a career in performing Celtic music that would sell 14 million records worldwide over the course of her career. She was awarded the Order of Canada in 2004. That was a few years after my favourite album of hers, The Book of Secrets, was released.

Celine Dion

Celine Dion

By the time she received the Order of Canada in 1998, Celine Dion was considered by most music critics and industry insiders as being one of the most influential voices of music of that decade, ranking with Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. Influential in the sense that her voice helped to shape how power pop ballads were sung, as well as influencing the “adult contemporary” genre of that time.

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Famous Teetotalers 010 – Howard Hughes

hughes

Howard Hughes

twaHoward Hughes (1905-1976) — Was a multi-talented business tycoon, one of the world’s richest men in his day. He was an aviator, an aircraft engineer, inventor, and filmmaker. It would take a long time to go through his accomplishments, but the founding of Trans-World Airlines (TWA) has to count for something. He made some successful films, such as the original Scarface. He purchased the iconic Radio Keith-Orpheum Pictures company (known as RKO Pictures) from RCA, pretty much owning it outright as of 1948. Prior to that, RKO had been a Hollywood jewel, having made movies like the original King Kong, Citizen Kane, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. RKO was also the distributor for movies and cartoons from Walt Disney Studios. Under Hughes, which was a time of rkoMcCarthyism, there was much micro-management which led to the selloff of RKO in by Hughes ten years later. He was more successful as a real estate magnate, where he would purchase large amounts of property in Las Vegas, even places which were run by organized crime, and was instrumental in cleaning up the crime in that city. As an aviator, he did a round the world flight in 91 hours, which back in 1938 was a world record. He was inducted into the National Aviators Hall of Fame in 1973.

Alcohol rarely comes up in the bios I’ve read, but when it does, it is said that he never took to alcohol. Injuries from numerous airplane crashes earlier in his life took a toll, and he started to acquire an addiction to codeine, which he injected into himself. He also became a recluse, imprisoned also by a worsening obsessive-compulsive disorder, dying of complications from malnutrition in 1976.

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OOC Recipients 010: You would want your kids to look up to them

Tweet Marc Garneau — Kids all want to be astronauts. Or firefighters. Or race car drivers. Most kids stand a better chance at being one of the latter two. Engineer Marc Garneau got the first one: he went on three NASA Space Shuttle flights. And in going full circle with this, he is now, after a […] […]

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Famous teetotalers 09: Musicians too

Tweet Rumor has it that Prince, otherwise known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, is teetotal, although maybe it is hard to believe. All Google searches for Prince in association with drugs led to Saudi sheikhs, cocaine and beheadings (not kidding), so I can only believe what the rumors say. Actually, it is a little […] […]

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OOC Recipients 08: Rushing to the top

Tweet For the most consecutive gold and platinum albums by a rock band, first place is The Beatles, second is The Rolling Stones, and third place is the Canadian group Rush (24 gold, 14 platinum). The members of Rush have worked hard to reproduce their album sound in their concerts, so Rush concerts have been known […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 08: Those who are good at what they do

Tweet Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman (1918-1988) was the only famous scientist I could find that was teetotal by repuation. Einstein was a moderate drinker, and a heavier smoker. Feynman reportedly used to be a moderate drinker also, no reason why not, but on a trip in Brazil he felt a compulsion to drink alcohol in the […] […]

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OOC Receipients 07: Entertainers

Tweet While Connie Kaldor won Juno awards on three occasions (1989, 2004, and 2005) for her work on Children’s albums, she is better known for her amazing talent in folk music and live performances. She has made 14 albums to date, not including her children’s albums. She became a member of the Order of Canada in […] […]

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Retail sales attention grabber

Tweet I was driving to Oakville, and stopping at Tim Horton’s, and this bicycle store sale sign caught my attention. I have heard of “door crashing sales” before, but the Mississauga branch of Cyclepath were not just shooting the bull, they meant it. Due to what appears to be a serious accident, the entire front window […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 07: Philosophers

Tweet Henry David Thoreau – Author of Walden and Civil Disobedience, among scores of other books, this 19th-century Harvard-educated American philosopher and writer stands at the top rank of American Literature and philosophy. His connection with nature and desire for a balanced life led him to write “I believe that water is the only drink for […] […]

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The latest on Lolita Nation

Tweet The band Game Theory existed in the 1980s, and had a good run as artistic output goes. But during their day, they were beset by various runs of bad luck: the folding of their record label, Enigma, and the lack of publicity they had during and after they folded. The group disbanded around 1989, and […] […]

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Recognizable OOC Recipients: Comedians

Tweet Dan Akroyd was a comedic actor who got his start in Saturday Night Live, then he and John Belushi formed The Blues Brothers which went from a blues/comedy act to a full-length film. Among the films he starred in, were Ghostbusters, Trading Places, Ghostbusters II, and the satire Dragnet. He was made a member of […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 06: Very expressive people

Tweet Jim Carrey – Probably one of the funniest comedians alive, the star of the Ace Ventura sequels, The Mask, and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has had a few ups and downs in his private life, including battling depression, he has sworn off all meds, booze, and even coffee, and has been that […] […]

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Recognizable OOC Recipients 05: News anchors

Tweet Lloyd Robertson (OOC 1998) — He was six years an anchor for CBC news in the early to mid-seventies. He later moved to CTV, and had been anchor there until 2011 when he retired. He has been news anchor longer than Walter Cronkite, and is in fact the record holder for the longest-serving anchorman in […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 05: Christians

Tweet There are many Christian denominations whose devotees practice abstinence: Mormons, Amish, Methodists, Quakers, 7th-day Adventists, Mennonites, Salvation Army members, and there are probably more that I can’t think of. But not all preach abstinence, including Roman Catholics. Jesus himself turned water into over a hundred gallons of wine (John 2:1-11), seemingly to encourage its use […] […]

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Recognizable OOC Recipients 04: Musicians

Tweet There are actually quite a number of Order of Canada recipients that are musicians. More musicians will appear in later installments. Saskatoon native Joni Mitchell graced our radios in the decades since the sixties with her folk/pop singing that had been the influence of a great many musicians worldwide. Some of her album covers were self-drawn, […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 04: Politicians staying on the wagon

Tweet There was never any indication that Donald Trump over-indulged in alcohol, but any indulging he ever did came to a halt in 1981 when his brother died of complications from alcholism. From then on, the billionaire politician eventually put an end to all bad habits: no alcohol, cigarettes, or recreational drugs. In all the brouhaha […] […]

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Recognizable OOC Recipients 03: David Suzuki and Clayton Ruby

Tweet David Suzuki, geneticist, outspoken environmentalist, university professor, Long-time host of CBC’s The Nature of Things, writer of many biology books and textbooks, was appointed as Officer of the Order of Canada back in 1977, and became a Companion of the OOC in 2005. He now runs The David Suzuki Foundation, a charitable organization which is […] […]

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Pictures say it all: Some of the world’s worst commutes

Tweet Think your commute was bad? The worst I have heard of is one consisting of a 50-lane (that’s f-i-f-t-y lanes) highway, called the G4, which joins up Beijing, Macau and Hong Kong. It has been referred to as “the Great Crawl of China”, and “a waiting area for toll booths”. There exists a checkpoint plaza […] […]

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Famous Teetotalers 3: Keeping your friends close

Tweet Al Pacino, actor in Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, and all of The Godfather parts, had faced alcoholism once, but swore it off due to a healthy support network of people around him. In the Godfather, Pacino’s character Michael Corleone famously said something like “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer”. That might work in […] […]

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Recognizable OOC Recipients 002: Anita Best

Tweet Newfoundland is known for, among other things, its own brand of music. Anita Best was music in a space of her own. People not hep to Newfoundland culture would very likely take to her music, since most of it is free of button accordions, harmonicas, bagpipes and the like (sometimes she’s a capella). In my […] […]

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